Last week, we noted the Phillies had fallen back to earth after their hot second-half start, and mentioned the team had given up two huge homers in just a few days.
Things got worse against the Mets last night. The Phillies actually led in this game, 7-2, after homers by Ryan Howard, Cameron Rupp and Domonic Brown. Then the Mets ended the game on a 14-0 run, hitting eight homers in all during the 16-7 win. New York set team and Citizens Bank Park records for homers and a team record for extra base hits. The 11 combined homers tied a National League record.
The Mets were actually just one short of the NL record for homers in a game, which the Reds set in a 22-3 win against the Phillies in 1999 at Veterans Stadium. Read more »
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Chase Utley left town the other day as the fifth-best player in modern Phillies history.
Yep. Here’s what I’ve got, in this order: Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Utley. (I apologize to Dick Allen and Del Ennis, and the older Phillies who may have been candidates, Chuck Klein and Nap Lajoie. I have no frame of reference for Chuckie and Nap.)
I’m a baseball dude. I played the game for much of my life (and still play in an adult league, which explains my recent torn meniscus and micro-fracture surgery) and was an avid student of the art of hitting. For a period of five years, I thought Chase Utley was the best hitter I had ever seen. Yes, the best hitter I had ever seen. Utley had an amazing way of staying relaxed, then violently firing that short swing. He kept his bat path in the hitting zone for a loooong time — right on the plane of the incoming pitched ball — and hit every ball on sweet spot of his maple bat.
Utley was also the strangest player I have ever covered or seen in a locker room. Read more »
The trade of Chase Utley to the Dodgers is not the only downer for Phillies fans this week. The hot streak that started after the All-Star break is over; please excuse the arbitrary endpoints, but the team has lost 7 of 9. Pete Mackanin is now 21-26 as Phillies manager. All of your favorites from the 2007-2011 teams are now on other squads, retired or hitting below league average.
And this week, the Phillies have given up two huge homers. Read more »
Jerad Eickhoff | Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Phillies will are about to put to the test one of the prospects they received in the Cole Hamels deal.
Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will make his Phillies debut tonight against the Miami Marlins.
Eickhoff came to the Phillies on July 31st, the MLB trade deadline, when the Hamels deal that was originally struck on July 29th was made official. Since then, he has a 2-1 record with a strong 2.49 ERA for the Triple-A IronPigs. He is ranked as the Phillies’ 15th-best prospect. Read more »
Darth Vader arrived to Citizens Bank Park in force last night, with his usual entourage of white-clad stormtroopers.
The Imperial posse stood guard on the Phillies dugout while the Phanatic showed off his signature dance moves, this time bopping to the tune of “YMCA.” But Vader was none too enthused when the Phanatic got in his face in an attempt to get him to dance along.
Watch the video at MLB.com. Read more »
While the Sixers and their team of All Star surgeons are optimistic that Joel Embiid will make a full recovery from his latest foot surgery, the fact remains that the talented center’s future with the team is murkier than ever. As he prepares to sit out his second straight season, he inches closer to joining a strange Philadelphia fraternity: high-profile athletes who, for one reason or another, crushed Philly fans’ high expectations after their — in some cases high-profile — acquisitions. Some of these athletes were felled by injury, others simply refused to play in the City of Brother Love, and one — we’re looking at you, Andrew Bynum, was hurt and seemed to have no interest in playing here. Here are six athletes who could not — or would not — play in Philly. Read more »
Chase Utley had doubled, knocking in a run. The National League still trailed in the 2014 All-Star Game, but the team had finally scored. Utley, on second, went into his trademark celebration: Hands on his hips, staring forward with a small smirk on his face. It’s as if Utley were a baseball-playing robot, thinking “my programming helped me achieve that positive baseball result” to himself.
The only other Philadelphia athlete in recent memory that attracted the kind of universal adulation as Chase Utley is Brian Dawkins. Utley appeared to be designed in a factory designed to produce the kind of athlete designed to appeal to every Philadelphia fan: He kept his head down and didn’t say much. He went 100 percent at every opportunity. The blue-collar fan stereotype is overblown, but there is a segment of the Philadelphia fanbase that likes guys who play hard and keep quiet. They can pretend it’s them out there, just doing a job.
Utley put up solid numbers every year. He had nice arms. He would show up at, like, the Morning Glory diner. He and his wife had a charity, anti-animal abuse, that everyone could agree with. His swing reminded people of Ted Williams. He tied a World Series record held by Reggie Jackson. Both of his famous quotes involve him dropping an F-bomb. How could anyone not like this guy? The only other Phillie possibly beloved as much as Utley was Richie Ashburn. Read more »
The Phillies have agreed to a deal that sends Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. He reports the trade is not yet official, but has been agreed to by both teams. The Phillies are also sending $2 million to the Dodgers in the trade.
Utley was drafted by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft and signed on July 29th of that year. He rocketed up the minor league system, skipping AA Reading altogether, and debuted with the big club in 2003. His first major league hit, on April 24th of that year, was a grand slam. Read more »
Guess those Chase Utley trade rumors were premature. The longtime second baseman for the Phillies will probably spend the rest of the season here, GM Ruben Amaro said today.
“It is very likely he’ll be here in Philadelphia through the end of the year and then we’ll see what happens after that,” Amaro said during a morning interview on WIP, the sports talk radio station. Read more »
Illustration by Gluekit
Housing values are soaring in Point Breeze, Grays Ferry and Kensington, of all places. The restaurant boom continues along East Passyunk Avenue. Millennials are piling into the city like someone is giving away participation trophies. All this energy and optimism is new and deeply confusing for people who view Philadelphia through an older, more cynical lens.
It’s no doubt a comfort to this veteran crowd, then, that the city’s major sports franchises are still reliably floundering. Sure, the Eagles have won 10 games in each of the past two seasons, but the team did miss the playoffs last year for the third time in four seasons. Similarly, the Flyers have whiffed on the post-season twice in the past three years, and the Phillies are suffering from a crippling hangover after their binge of success from 2007 to 2011. And at least those three teams are trying to win. The Sixers attempted to lose ’em all on purpose over the past two seasons — and were out-tanked twice.
It’s the grimmest time to be a Philadelphia sports fan since 1972. Read more »